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Recent Publications

“Eight Glasses of Daily Water is Mythology”

Oct 21, 2018

Everywhere, people are carrying bottles of water and taking frequent sips from them. Despite the seemingly admonition to “drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day” (with a reminder that beverages containing caffeine and alcohol do not count), rigorous proof for this is missing. You don’t have to consume all the water you need through drinks. Americans get nearly 20% of their fluid intake from food. A 2002 study failed to find any scientific studies to support the eight, eight-ounce glasses (8 x 8) on a daily basis.  Surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were not overtly ill. This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks (and, to a lesser extent, mild alcoholic beverages like beer in moderation) may be counted toward the daily total. However, large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 × 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates.

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“Alzheimer’s Disease Possibly Linked to a Virus”

Oct 14, 2018

Close to six million people suffer with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and a new case is diagnosed every 70 seconds.  Despite years of research, the underlying cause of AD is up for debate and unknown.  Dr Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, talks about the contagion theory of Alzheimer’s disease.  Could Alzheimer disease be caused by an infection? Some very interesting research calls into question the precise etiology of Alzheimer’s disease.  Physicians and scientists have been taught for decades that amyloid causes Alzheimer’s disease.  Although that may be true, different people may take different roads to developing the disease.  Some people may be on the metabolic road; for example, having diabetes increases the Alzheimer’s disease risk two-fold. What about hormones and the menopause transition?  Women are in the fast lane for acquiring AD.

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“Chocolate Studies are Clouded in Confusion”

Oct 07, 2018

A late August 2018 headline proclaimed the good news: “Three bars of chocolate a month can reduce chances of heart failure.” Also, some research has shown that small amounts of chocolate (especially dark chocolate) may be good for your heart, your brain, and even your eyes. Another recent meta-analysis found that eating chocolate lowered the relative risk of heart failure, stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart disease. The study indicated that 45 g/week (almost exactly the size of a regular Hershey bar) was the most effective amount of chocolate to eat for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. But wait, because too much chocolate cancels out any healthy effects. The researchers’ main finding was that people who eat a lot of chocolate (like on a daily basis) had a 17% greater risk of heart failure than people who ate no chocolate. Still, another study found that moderate chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of heart failure” by 23%. They categorized “moderate chocolate consumption” as one to three (not simply three) servings a month. The compounds in chocolate that are believed to work wonders are flavanols, and dark chocolate contains up to two to three times more flavanols than milk chocolate. Flavanols are a type of polyphenol, a group of natural compounds found in plants, that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming flavanols appears to increase vasodilation, which lowers blood pressure and reduces cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.

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“Will An Apple A Day Keep The Doctor Away ?”

Sep 30, 2018

For decades, we have heard the old adage that “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” But, is there any scientific proof for this? Detox diets purport to work through “clean eating.” That typically means eating a strict diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and raw nuts and seeds, plus lots of water. But, there’s no evidence detox and cleanse diets actually rid the body of toxins, or that they’re necessary. The Mediterranean diet, which is heavy in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil), and low in processed foods, red meat, and saturated and trans fats, has confirmed health benefits by many studies. In 2018, Dr. John Murphy published an article on the very subject of eating an apple a day to avoid the doctor and here is what he found out. Further, Dr. Matthew A. Davis wrote, “To our knowledge, the association between daily apple consumption and use of health-care services has never been rigorously examined. Although some may jest, considering the relatively low cost of apples (currently $1.13 per pound of Red Delicious apples), a prescription for apple consumption could potentially reduce national health-care spending if the aphorism holds true.” Dr. Davis and colleagues analyzed data from 8,399 eligible adults who completed a dietary recall questionnaire as part of the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Of these individuals, 753 (9%) self-identified as daily apple eaters (those who consumed at least 1 small apple or 149 g of raw apple per day) and 7,646 (91%) reported they did not eat an apple a day.

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“Cholesterol May Not Be Cause of Heart Disease”

Sep 23, 2018

The cholesterol debate rages on. Doctors clash over the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, with some claiming they should be prescribed more widely to prevent thousands of deaths, whereas other say they are overused.  Seventeen physicians from across the world appear to have dispelled the theory that there are links between having high LDL-C levels – “bad cholesterol” – and clogged arteries.  In short, doctors have found that there is no link between high levels of bad cholesterol and heart disease.  And with this claim, a number of leading cardiologists say statins, taken by millions to tackle cholesterol, don’t have any benefit. Their findings, published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, suggest the drugs won’t treat heart disease, as they say high bad cholesterol levels don’t necessarily lead to heart disease.  Experts have clashed for years as they argue both for and against statins and their effect.  But while they do agree that they are a lifesaver for people who have already had a heart attack, the study, based on about 1.3 million patients’ data, indicates it could be of no use as a preventative measure.

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“Salt Not As Bad As Claimed”

Sep 16, 2018

We have been repeatedly cautioned about excessive salt intake. But, what is the current thinking? Going back to 1988, the INTERSALT study compared urinary sodium levels with high blood pressure in 10,000 people and found no statistically significant association between them. In 2011, a study in JAMA compared the urinary sodium levels of 3,681 people with their risk of dying over the course of eight years. They found, surprisingly, that the more sodium their subjects ate, the less likely they were to die. Also, while blacks, diabetics and others more likely to have heart problems are urged to slash their salt intake, a 2013 Institute of Medicine (IOM) review showed there was limited evidence such an ultra-low salt diet helped, and that too little salt might increase the risk of heart trouble. The IOM panel said that too little salt might increase the risk of heart trouble. A new study suggests that we may not have to worry so much about how salty we like our food. It has been claimed that sodium, if often ingested in large quantities, can lead to a range of cardiovascular problems, including hypertension. The World Health Organization (WHO) say that a person should not consume more than 2 grams of sodium per day, which is about 5 grams of salt per day.

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“Low-Carb Diet Under Attack”

Sep 09, 2018

As many as 45 million people in the United States go on a diet each year and US individuals reportedly spend around $33 billion on weight loss products annually. Truly, the current data on diets is terribly conflicted and confusing. The two-thirds of the population that are either overweight or obese have a plethora of diets to choose from. From low-fat to high-fat, keto diets and intermittent fasting, such that the fads are too numerous too count. Study results are at times diametrically opposed. Counseling patients on healthy dietary patterns is challenging. So much information abounds that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. A case in point is the advisability of a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss and for overall health. Low-carb, high-protein diets result in greater weight loss over a given period compared with calorically equivalent diets that contain relatively more carbohydrates. A new study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress concluded that a low intake of carbs raises the risk of premature mortality, as well as mortality from several chronic illnesses.

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“Antioxidant Negative Studies Keep Coming”

Sep 02, 2018

Despite a lack of proven benefit and an association with harm in some studies, the obsession with vitamins and dietary supplements continues to fuel a multi–billion-dollar industry. In the United States alone, the supplement market was almost $30 billion in 2015. The global dietary supplement market is projected to reach $278 billion by 2024. Yet, a review paper titled “Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals for CVD Prevention and Treatment” found no benefit for supplementation with multivitamin, vitamins C and D, calcium, β-carotene, or selenium. Furthermore, some antioxidant combinations (at least two of vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; selenium; and zinc) and extended-release niacin were associated with an increase in all-cause mortality. A more recent meta-analysis in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes concluded that multivitamins do not prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Similarly, a JAMA publication found no benefit of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on CVD risk, yet Americans continue to love their fish oil pills. Overall, there is no evidence from randomized controlled trials that any specific diets or dietary supplements prevent or treat cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or strokes. Evidence gathered over the past few years shows that, at best, antioxidant supplements do little or nothing to benefit our health. At worst, large doses have been shown to have the opposite effect, promoting the very problems they were supposed to stamp out. Many are now saying that patients are filling their toilets with very expensive urine and placing their faith in worthless and sometimes dangerous promises in a bottle.

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“Dairy Products Found Safe in New Study”

Aug 26, 2018

Past research has shown that diets with high levels of saturated fats, like cheese, butter, and whole milk, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke. Some studies have found that saturated fats have also been linked to increased mortality rates. The USDA highlights that it is important to choose low-fat or fat-free foods from the dairy group because foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol have adverse health implications. However, dairy products contain many nutrients like calcium that have health benefits. Still, a raging dietary controversy surrounds the benefits or harms of consuming dairy products. In some parts of the world, dairy has been consumed for thousands of years, and research has shown that genes have altered in humans to accommodate dairy consumption. Evidence shows that we have genetically adapted to eat dairy and indicates that it may now be natural for us to eat and drink it. The
USDA reports that dairy products are the primary source of calcium in the American diet. Whole milk and many dairy products are high in saturated fat.

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“Cancer Cell Types Vary in Lethality”

Aug 19, 2018

Cancer remains the leading cause of death in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates that doctors will diagnose 1,735,350 new cases across the US in 2018 and that 609,640 people will die from cancer in this year.  To understand the difference in outlook between cancer types, researchers often use a statistic called the 5-year survival rate.  This figure refers to the percentage of people who survive for 5 years after the diagnosis of cancer.  Detecting and treating the disease at an early stage can significantly improve a person’s outlook.  The 5-year survival rate does not indicate whether or not treatment has removed all signs of cancer, but it is useful for comparing the relative severity of different types of cancer.  It is important to remember that many other factors influence survival, such as how early the cancer was detected. The cancers with the highest 5-year relative survival rates include melanoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, breast, prostate, testicular, cervical, and thyroid cancer.

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